Dunedin Mardi Gras events set for February 28

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Angela Colton, the museum's executive director, is originally from New Orleans - so she knows exactly what it takes to get in the festive Mardi Gras spirit. But have you ever wondered how the famous Mardi Gras celebrations of New Orleans came about?

A Mardi Gras Big Easy Bites and Booze Tour is available for revelers looking to start the celebration early.

Everyone deserves to have a wonderful and safe Mardi Gras weekend, especially pets, even if that means leaving them at home. Fat Tuesday, a guilt-free day of excess before the Lenten season officially begins, is right around the corner (on Tuesday, February 28). We love Lunatico, and as its owners are three musicians with ties to the Crescent City and who regularly schedule New Orleans bands - or bands of the New Orleans diaspora - on the calendar, we fully trust they won't f- this one up! The event includes live music from The Jim Cullum Reunion Jazz Band, Billy Ray Sheppard and Zydeco Blanco in the Arneson River Theatre and the rio parade running from 4 to 6 p.m.

Details: Feb. 24-28, Freedom Crossing, 1611 Haan Rd., free, 915-564-5311 or FreedomCrossingAtFortBliss.com.

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To mark Mardi Gras and celebrate the city's diverse LGBTI community, Westfield Sydney will install a giant disco ball to hang in the void.

"I want to involve the kids so they get a sense of it without the insane stuff", market manager Claudia Beaver said. The restaurant will also have live music on the restaurant's enclosed and heated front patio with the Capitol Hillbillies, performing from 11 a.m.to 3 p.m. Bayou will offer an all-you-can-eat buffet for $25 per person, from 5 p.m.to 9 p.m. Last year, approximately $10,000 was raised.

"I think it's just going to bring another level of energy and excitement and maybe hopefully provide some exposure to a great tradition in our state for those who maybe might not ever make it to be able to travel...to see a Mardi Gras parade", Coucilwoman Beth Witten said. They will also have giveaways and contests. For $10, the indoor-outdoor event includes a pound of crawfish, drink specials and a DJ set.

"The group that actually created the festival did it as a grassroots event to raise funds for local charities, never imagining it would get this big", event organizer Elaine Motl said.